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Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

8.2.4 Press Owners 251

8.2.4 Press Owners 251 After political parties, the press owners hold the most power considering that they can coerce the editorial writers to frame in a particular way (See Appendix VII). In this respect, the shifting political alignment and changes in ownership examined in this study also directly or indirectly influenced the framing of political issues in the case studies. Press owners are able to influence the editorial writers as the study has revealed. Even though the press owners were unable to influence the nature of politics or events in their own political parties or parties with whom they were aligned, they were quite able to control the editorial writers. Breed (1999) argued that the through the process of professional socialisation journalists become aware of what is expected of them by the press owners. In the African situation, Mano (2005) notes the powerful influence of owners over professional journalists in both economic and professional terms. 8.2.5 The National Assembly The importance of the National Assembly in the framing process shifted over the three case studies. It was a major component of the framing process in the 1994 case study when the editorial writers took cues from the MPs on the National Assembly floor. Thus, it acted as a conduit of frames from the political parties to the editorial writers (See Appendix VII). However, in the 1999 case study, the role of the National Assembly diminished somewhat as editorial writers (both “government” and “opposition” models) refused to take any cues from the MPs. Further, the opposition boycott of parliament reduced its status as a debate forum. Thus, its relevance in the framing conduit was greatly reduced.

252 In the 2004 post election period, the status of the press overtook that of the National Assembly as MPs took cues from press. The MPs used editorial frames to confirm their own positions on the critical issues of leadership and the challenges to the economy. In his study of frames on the Turkish parliament, Loizides (2009, p.282) argues that studying frames in a democratically elected parliament is important because it reflects the power dynamics among all the key political players in a country. Further, Loizides (2009) argues that parliamentary framing will most certainly reflect the official views of ruling elites and opposition figures since political parties expect their MPs to reflect the official party position. MPs, in turn, usually adhere to the party position because they depend on the party for re-election. 8.2.6 Journalistic Culture Three aspects of journalistic cultures seem to have played a significant role in the emergent frames in the three case studies. The first had to do with objectivity and fairness. Even though editorial and opinion discourse are reflective of an ideological position adopted by the editorial board of a particular newspaper, such discourse is supposed to be rooted in solid reporting, hard facts and truth. The commentary on the post-election periods reflected the economic and political interests of the newspaper owners which in turn resulted in the superficial treatment of facts. This, in turn, blurred the possibility of discussing the key issues in a more thorough, more objective and fuller perspective of the prevalent national concerns. Further, on the same issue of objectivity and fairness, the professional outlook of journalists was shaped by the factors that had affected the growth of journalism in the single party era. Among them was the lack of professional training resulting in a press

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